In the Bleak Midwinter

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

What can I give him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give him: give my heart.”

—Christiana Rossetti

“He did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32

“In the Bleak Midwinter” means Christmas to me. I grew up in upstate NY where Christmas day often was white and cold and rather bleak. Gone were the leaves of summer, the crops in the field, and the rushing waters of the Susquehanna River. In their places was a monotone landscape waiting for the warmth of spring and the hope of new life. Verse four especially hits home. When I was a child, I loved opening my gifts, the favorite of which was one from a friend of my grandparents who gave each of us siblings a gift. She always seemed to choose special things for each of us, even though we saw her only a couple times a year. She was generous even without being present for the day. After the gifts were opened and we moved on to eat Christmas dinner with extended family, the little gift remained in my thoughts. They were small, unexpected, and lasting. Isn’t that how Jesus came? A baby. Tiny. A gift to the shepherds watching their flocks by night. Unexpected. We don’t have to be wealthy with brightly colored gifts piled under the tree and large post-Christmas bills to celebrate Christmas. Listen to Jesus’ words and give him your heart and time. This doesn’t cost money but promises a never-ending gift for the rest of time.

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Prayer: Lord God, we give you thanks and praise for the little gifts we receive daily. Help us to see each as special and worth sharing with others. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

—Diane Olin White

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